A friend was recently digitizing old images and shared this one with me. We took his father’s 1990 735iL cross-country in 2002, all over the place out west and eventually back to NYC where we started. What a great car. I remember cruising all day long in ~100F heat at ~90mph with the a/c on a moderate setting and the car just eating up miles like nothing. Oh and 2 bikes on the roof the whole time.

1990 735iL in its natural habitat, er... not quite

This picture was from a beach in Oregon. We saw a place where you could drive on the hard sand at lower tide times, but there was a nice stretch of maybe 200 feet of soft sand first. We hemmed and hawed about what to do, then decided not to try it. We didn’t want to be “those guys” with the New York plated BMW stuck in the sand.

So we went to a bar and had a few drinks. Then suddenly it was a great idea, “just floor it” was pretty much our strategy if I recall correctly. We did fine, and man, it was fun doing sand donuts in a 7 series. I was just barely 21 at the time. We camped out on the beach next to the car, just driving it up past where we thought (hoped!) the water would go at high tide. I think we slept just downhill of the car, thinking if we woke up with wet feet, it’s time to move the car. What could go wrong?

Lots of times, we slept in random places on the roadside next to this car, which in hindsight must have been amusing to onlookers. Two idiots with no money camping next to a big 12 year old german luxury sedan. But whatever, it was a blast.

I did a little digging, and amazingly, I have a few more pics from that trip.

Route 21 in Idaho: I specifically remember seeing this on a map and the two of us going, “yeah we gotta check that road out.”

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A place we camped in Idaho. No, we didn’t cross that bridge with the 7. I did, however, wake up in the middle of the night with diarrhea, forcing me to leave the tent and drive the car down the road until I found a bathroom. This was pre-cell phones, so my friend had no idea where I had gone until I returned 30 minutes later. Ha. The things you remember....

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I skied at Mount Hood because... why not?

Oh, the freedom of being 21 with a borrowed 7-series. Oh yes, it just occurred to me, the car was FLAWLESS mechanically, for the entire trip. Lucky for us that it was only the straight six and not the V12. As awesome as a V12 would have been, I think this engine is a bit better on the reliability front.

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10/10 would do it all again.